Kindness | Homelessness

10 Things You Can Do to Help the Homeless

10 Things You Can Do To Help The Homeless

If you're wondering how to help a homeless person on the street, this list of great ideas will help you and your kids understand how to help the homeless where you live. 

In September of 2007 Jon Linton began gathering imagery to document the homeless on the streets of Phoenix Arizona. That Fall he had volunteered both time and resources at a local homeless shelter to better understand the circumstance and plight of those without a place to call home. His project took shape, when the first man he photographed wept as he asked him his name. “You have no idea how long it has been since someone cared to ask my name”, he stated.


Through the course of this journey Jon has met many souls that through a bad set of circumstances, addiction or mental illness find themselves without a door to walk through at day’s end. They had fallen into what some had referred to as an “Invisible World". The I Have a Name Project is a humble attempt to bring dignity and humanity to those less fortunate among us.

Jon encourages you to go out and help another in need. He says your soul will thank you and reminds you to always practice compassion with these 10 tips that will help you better understand how you can help someone on the street.

At The End Of Life We Will Not Be Judged By How Many Diplomas We Have Received How Much Money We Have Made How Many Great Things We Have Done

What You Can Do to Help the Homeless

1. Respect the homeless as individuals 

Give homeless people the same courtesy and respect you would afford your friends, your family, your employer. Treat them as you would wish to be treated if you needed assistance.

2. Respond with kindness 

We can make quite a difference in the lives of the homeless when we respond to them, rather than ignore or dismiss them. Try a kind word and a smile.

3. Develop lists of shelters 

Carry a card that lists local shelters so you can hand them out to the homeless. You can find shelters in your phone book.

4. Bring food 

It's as simple as taking a few extra sandwiches when you go out. When you pass someone who asks for change, offer him or her something to eat. If you take a lunch, pack a little extra. When you eat at a restaurant, order something to take with you when you leave.

5. Give money 

One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to non-profit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.

6. Donate clothing 

Next time you do your spring or fall cleaning, keep an eye out for those clothes that you no longer wear. If these items are in good condition, gather them together and donate them to organizations that provide housing for the homeless.

7. Donate a bag of groceries 

Load up a bag full of non-perishable groceries and donate it to a food drive in your area. If your community doesn't have a food drive, organize one. Contact your local soup kitchens, shelters, and homeless societies and ask what kind of food donations they would like.

8. Volunteer at a shelter 

Shelters thrive on the work of volunteers, from those who sign people in, to those who serve meals, to others who counsel the homeless on where to get social services. For the homeless, a shelter can be as little as a place to sleep out of the rain or as much as a step forward to self-sufficiency.

9. Volunteer at a soup kitchen 

Soup kitchens provide one of the basics of life, nourishing meals for the homeless and other disadvantaged members of the community. Volunteers generally do much of the work, including picking up donations of food, preparing meals, serving it, and cleaning up afterward. To volunteer your services, contact your local soup kitchen, mobile food program, shelter, or religious center.

10. Advocate

Get involved in your local community. Help agencies in your area whose policy and initiatives support the goal of ending homelessness.

Do you have suggestions of things people can do to help someone in need? We'd love you to list them below.

Jon Linton

AUTHOR: Jon Linton - The I Have a Name Project
Jon is the founder of The I Have a Name Project and its Let's Be Better Humans campaign which you can follow on Facebook.
The project is a humble art and advocacy initiative to remind us that we all belong to one human race.


  1. I’m glad you talked about how we could help homeless people and make a difference! Recently, my wife and I decided we’d like to do something for our community. We want to help people in need, so we’ll be sure to read and follow your tips! Thanks for the advice on volunteering at shelters for homeless people.

  2. Our city has shelters available for homeless people. This woman I check on down my street is not willing to give up her bags of belonging. How can I go about to convince her to leave her stuffs? Shelter only allows two bags per person?

    1. RippleKindness says:

      Hi Gadolina
      I can understand this lady not wanting to part with her belongings. Though it may not look like much, it’s all she has. Perhaps you could offer to help her go through her things and choose what she wants to take with her and what she could put in “storage”. If you have a little space at your place, maybe you could offer to keep them for her? Or contact the shelter and ask them if there is somewhere she can store them.
      Best of luck,

    2. Margaret Moffatt says:

      Maybe say if you get two bags to take to the shelter, you will go through them with her and keep the things that are useful or of real sentimental value to her , just gently suggest it at first , maybe tell a story of how you cleared out your home to move etc and how good it made you feel, a fresh new start , May take a while maybe show some examples of before and after , also suggest there some space for something new !! Worth a try x it very kind of you to care so she a lucky lady as a friend who genuinely wants to help you is hard for anyone to find , i wonder what and why the bags are so important to her ? Maybe she feels that all she has left to hold on to, so all you can do is your best get creative, life never stands still and just helping one person in need is worth more than anything in those bags or anywhere, all you can do is help and guide her the rest is up to her , has this lady got any health issues etc ?
      Kind regards
      Maggie May xx

  3. I love how you stated that a shelter can help homeless people to move towards self-sufficiency. I think that homeless shelters also provide a place of comfort and security for those who can not find that anywhere else. I think that it would be super beneficial for homeless people to find a shelter where they fit in and are appreciated and taken care of.

  4. Well, I agree with you that homeless people must be treated with respect because dismissing them will just make them feel small. You’re also right that it would be a great idea to offer them food rather than money. My mother and I have been wanting to help people like them because we know that life is tough, especially during this pandemic.

    1. RippleKindness says:

      This is the best time to start helping Rachel. We’d love to hear what you and your mother decide to do.
      Warm regards,

  5. Hello,
    my name is Robert Dow from Houston Texas. ive been feeding homeless people for about 5 years now twice a week. between 50 -75 meals each time. my church helps me out with providing eggs that i boil and bananas, when my church cant help i buy the egg,bananas and waters myself. and im on disability so i cant always afford everything., i want to do more to help the homeless and less fortunate . i dont post pictures of what i do because i dont care what people think, my church friends know that i like doing this. i figure that im doing what God would want me to do instead of all the bad things i use to do. i would really like to know what steps i could take to do more good. i am a felon so my resources are limited. i havent been in trouble since 2010 but my felonies follow me everywhere i go.

    1. RippleKindness says:

      Hi Robert
      I really admire you for turning your life around and doing so much good for others. Helping creates a feeling of pride and self-worth that nothing else can. I would highly encourage you to contact the author of this post, Jon Linton, as he is the authority in this area. Check out his website and facebook page – I have a Name. Jon may have a project going that you can join in on or give you some advice of what else you can do to help.
      Keep up the awesome work.
      Warm regards,

  6. A friend & myself are looking for ideas on how to help a woman & her daughter who live in a different state than us. They are currently living in a tent, the child is 14. We want to help but just don’t know where to start. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    1. RippleKindness says:

      Hi Lynn
      That’s very kind of you wanting to help. I would suggest contacting Jon Linton, the author of this post as he is the authority in this area. Take a look at his website. He’s an awesome guy.
      Warm regards,

  7. Me and my friend we just came up with this idea of helping homeless people by providing them with second hands clothes and we decided to do a documentary about that, so the world will understand the life’s of them. We from South Africa (Durban). If you are out there and you want to bring help please contact me on facebook Nicholus kzn cebo. God bless you.

  8. Forrest Deis says:

    I am in the process of deciding what service I can be to my fellow man. I can’t think of anything better
    than bringing the love of God to the homeless people that surround me. THANK YOU!

    1. RippleKindness says:

      Thank you for caring for others. I’m sure you will be of great service.

  9. I see homeless people every day. I ask my mom if I can help but she is scared something might happen I was homeless before I knew how it felt I am crying right now.

    1. RippleKindness says:

      When we saw homeless people in the city with my young children we would always buy them a meal. I felt this was the most useful thing we could do. It could sometimes feel overwhelming but my children learned a valuable lesson that there are many who are not as fortunate as they are.

  10. Im only 16 but i want to help out homeless people, it breaks my heart every time i see someone suffering living outside especially when it gets cold. I dont have alot of confidence with people so i find it hard to communicate, i even struggle to speak up in my family. I want to help to spread some love this so close to Christmas and help as much as possible,even if it is just one or two homeless people

    1. RippleKindness says:

      Georgia, it can be daunting approaching someone who is homeless but I can see that you have a humble and compassionate heart. I think it would be a lovely thing for you to help someone less fortunate this Christmas. We just posted a story called “The White Envelope” on the blog that you might like to read. It could fit in well with your idea for helping and may even get people from your family involved.

  11. unice andrews says:

    give up a room in yr house I have one

  12. 11. Start a social enterprise

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